Coursera.org: Maybe the best new thing in the world lately
Have you ever wanted to just take a course for the hell of it? No professional development, no enhancing your resume–just taking a course because you want to study or you want to know more about something? I sure have. How about the added bonus of not having to get in your car and go somewhere to do it? How about being able to work, study and attend class when YOU want to, even if its the middle of the night? How about that class being taught be top professors at the top ranked universities in the country and a few not in the country?
If the above all sounds appealing to you and you are thinking…”well sign me up, Moon-howler”, then do I have a deal for you! Check out Coursera.org. Look at the schools involved. Wowowow! Cal Tech, just like the dudes on Numb3rs on TV! Standford! Duke! UVA! Johns Hopkins! Princeton! Impressed yet? Check out the course offerings from the home page. There are a lot of courses listed. Best of all, they are free.
The down side is, these courses aren’t for credit. Perhaps that isn’t a down side. Perhaps that is the liberating side of coin. Are they all high tech? Hell no. I see Greek and Roman Mythology on that drool page. I see some history courses. I see a couple of math courses I don’t think will do me in and I think I see an astronomy class at my level which could best be described as barely post-elementary school.
What Coursera has to say about itself:
Classes offered on Coursera are designed to help you master the material. When you take one of our classes, you will watch lectures taught by world-class professors, learn at your own pace, test your knowledge, and reinforce concepts through interactive exercises. When you join one of our classes, you’ll also join a global community of thousands of students learning alongside you. We know that your life is busy, and that you have many commitments on your time. Thus, our courses are designed based on sound pedagogical foundations, to help you master new concepts quickly and effectively. Key ideas include mastery learning, to make sure that you have multiple attempts to demonstrate your new knowledge; using interactivity, to ensure student engagement and to assist long-term retention; and providing frequent feedback, so that you can monitor your own progress, and know when you’ve really mastered the material.
Most of the new classes start in September so you have a little time to see what you really want to take. Meanwhile, isn’t this just the neatest thing since sliced bread? Enjoy.